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The Kayview Gallery: How I Shoot

Never guess from today’s image what we did over the weekend would you?  Okay, so maybe you would.  We (I) heard about this small track in Milford Connecticut where a group of guys get together (apparently mostly informally) to play in the dirt.  I took a look at their website and saw there was no entry fee for spectators unless a formal event was going on.  Hey, free action shots?  Why not.  When we got there we found five guys sitting around taking a break.  I asked if they were going to be riding any more or if the day was done.  They said to give them five minutes and they’d do a few laps specifically for Doris and I.  Not bad!  I asked for spots where they thought the best angles were and they pointed out here, here and here.  No problem.  For my decision making process on that day, hit the “Read More”.

My thinking on how I’m going to shoot goes something like this:

  • The first consideration I have is how I’m going to use the shots.
  • Second, what are the limitations of my equipment
  • Third, How do I best overcome those limitations
  • Fourth, Who is my target audience.

For the first one it comes down to “am I going to sell the shots?”  If so, to whom.  Things like todays image or a wedding or an event fall into a category of fast and dirty.  I don’t want to spend any more time on the computer than I have to.  In this case I’ll shoot JPG Fine as my choice of format.  If I’m shooting for images to be hung on walls, or entered in to competitions I’ll typically be shooting RAW. 

I’m shooting with a Nikon D7100.  The biggest limitation I see in it is the small buffer size.  When shooting RAW the buffer fills after just a couple of shots.  The camera is rated for six frames per second, but if three shots fill the buffer and it grinds to a halt, the six frame rating doesn’t mean much.  So, to drive the continuous shutter as fast as possible I again shoot JPGs.  In the case of today’s image stalling out after three images just ain’t gonna work.  As I went through the first pass of selecting keepers versus rejects I saw that I would shoot through the series, typically tossing out the first (too far away) and last shots (probably partially out of the frame past me).  About six shots in one second with the first and last trashed.  If I can find four frames that I am willing to give a second look to, I’m a happy camper.

Somewhere in the last couple of paragraphs are the answers to the four points that made up my choices on that day, at that track, shooting that subject, for the purpose of going back and making a couple bucks.  Too often I see photographers who are die hard RAW shooters.  I’m a bit more pragmatic.  I love shooting people wide open and landscapes closed down quite a bit.  But I’m not a slave to either one.  Sometimes you’ll want the background to be in some shade of focus with people.  An environmental portrait comes to mind.  Sometimes, on a landscape or seascape, having the foreground tack sharp and letting the background fall off is an interesting choice.  We make all sorts of choices when we pick up our cameras.  The file format is just one more choice.  I tend to pick the one that’s right for the situation. 

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